Sue called out to Kari, a beautiful five-year-old black and tan Doberman, “Come back! Time to go!” Kari stopped in her tracks. Her ears were pricked straight up, her body stiffened and faced the rabbit that was bounding away but her head tilted back to her guardian. The sun was shining and the breeze was gentle. You can almost see the thought process going on in Kari’s mind, “Should I chase or should I head back? The rabbit is fun to chase and I am sure I will get him this time, not like the last time but I know there is a delicious treat waiting for me if I listen! Am I going to be Kari, the one who caught the rabbit or Kari, the dog who gets her treat?” In the end, Kari watched the rabbit ran away and started to run back to Sue joyfully, stretching her powerful legs and arching her supple spine, almost salivating thinking about her tasty reward. Life is indeed good!
Every day, you make choices. From as basic as what to eat and wear to deciding if you want to get out of bed or not! When you were young, you were taught right and wrong, first by your parents, and then the lesson was extended to the classroom where your teachers taught ideas like reading, writing, arithmetic, and much more. They taught you the right way of reading or the wrong way of adding (how 2 + 2 is not 5), etc. This lesson of right or wrong is further supplemented and reinforced by society with laws, rules, and regulations.
Sometimes, it is easy to think life is made up of right and wrong choices. It can be challenging as you do not want to be wrong so you feel like you have to make the right choice every time. If you do not and make a wrong choice, somehow you have done the wrong thing and letting someone down (either someone else and/or yourself).
To extend that thought further, it can be almost paralyzing to make choices in fear of choosing the wrong one. Examples include what subject to study, what job to take, should I marry that person or not, should I take this course, where should I live, what car should I buy, should I go to that party, should I buy life insurance and many more. You get the gist. There are so many ‘important’ decisions to make in life that it is sometimes easier to do nothing and ‘let nature takes its course’. Over time, the decision may be taken away or made for you.
What if there was an alternate way of thinking? What if instead of viewing decisions or choices as right or wrong, you simply see them as actions and consequences? There are no right or wrong decisions or choices, only consequences for each one that you make. (Even not making a choice is a decision. And there are certainly consequences for that.)
There are no right or wrong choices, only the consequence will differ. That is simply it. No need to assign right or wrong, only understanding and accepting the result. Perhaps, the most important aspect of this is that you are better off making the choice than having the decision taken out of your hand. Once there is not the guilt of ‘making the wrong choice’, you should just simply decide and observe the consequence. You either find the result favourable or you don’t. If you do, repeat it. If you don’t, learn from it.
Seth Godin said that there are two kinds of decisions worth focusing on.
HARD ONES because you know that whatever you choose is possibly the wrong path. Hard decisions are hard because you have competing priorities. Hard decisions that happen often are probably a sign that the system you’re relying on isn’t stable, which means that the thing you did last time might not be the thing you want to do this time.
EASY ONES because it probably means that you’ve got a habit going. And an unexamined habit can easily become a rut, a trap that leads to digging yourself deeper over time.
Every time you make a decision, you learn, you grow and you become more than what you were before making that decision. Be sure to grow. To find your best self, you must lose your weak self. That only happens through relentless improvement, continuous reflection, and ongoing self-excavation.
Basically, make sure you make all decisions that affect you in any way at all costs. It is your life. Make it yours and not others.
Kari chose her reward instead of the rabbit. What do you choose?
‘The tragedy of life is not death but what we let die inside of us while we live.’ – Robin Sharma